16 April 2008

Flavor of Spring : Bamboo Shoot Rice, Baked Scallop with Fragrant Crumb

There is a Japanese expression to describe an element of their eating culture; ' 旬 ' ( shun ) which means, ' the best time '. For those product you'd see labelled with a sticker and mention the word, it simply means that it is the best time to enjoy whatever packed within. =)

To produce the taste of ' best time ' ( 旬の味 ), simply use ingredients that are at their top form. In Spring, we are fortunate to enjoy good harvest for vegetables and certain seafood. Read on to find out how I tackle the Bamboo Shoot, fresh plump scallop and green beans. =D

This is the bamboo shoot ( 竹の子 ). I wonder if Bamboo Shoot is available in western areas, though these shoots are used in certain oriental dishes. The picture on the right shows how a bamboo shoot looks like when dug up from the ground. It looks like a rugged-skin hat to me... heheheh...

Anyway, this crunchy soft and lightly sweet root is quite a pain to prepare from start! A hard time washing to get rid of dirt, long time of boiling to make it soft, stripping and etc. ( ** ) I always buy those packed and prepared ones that are not too huge for 2 persons to finish.

You know I really appreciate this thoughtful merchandise, else I wouldn't be able to enjoy this lovely root at home.

Bamboo shoot is a versatile ingredient that provides lots of cooking possibilities! They go with vegetables, seafood, meat, probably anything! To savor its flavor, I had it prepared for this Bamboo Shoot Rice, together with asparagus, fragrant mushroom, topped with the seaweed that we 've bought from the Wasabi farm.

We love the gently flavored rice, infused with the best taste of Spring. It can't be any mistake for those who love a delicate flavor.

Recipe for Bamboo Shoot Rice
Now this is actually a very free and easy thing, just use ingredients that you think work best with Bamboo Shoot. You'd need a rice cooker though.

Ingredients ( Makes 3 bowls but serves 2 hungry people at home )

Rice : 1 standard cup or 155g

Bamboo shoot : 120 g, cut to mouth-sized length and sliced at 2mm at least

Asaparagus : 3 stalks, sliced cross wise. Cooking asparagus with the rice retains the nuitrients within the serving, so no wastage here. To understand what I'm trying to stress, read here.

Carrot : 1/2 stalk, sliced into thin strips

Mushroom : I'm using 2 quality dried ' Shiitake ', sliced at 4mm thickness

Seaweed : Strips of seaweed for topping, cut from bite-size ones if you need to.

Stock : 300ml. I'm using stock of konnbu ( 昆布 ), one may find such stock powder in supermarket. You may like to replace with chicken stock or other stock you prefer. Read instruction below for explanation.

Japanese Rice Wine : 1 tablespoon

Mirin : 1 tablespoon

Soy sauce : 2 tablespoon

1. Prepare stock by boiling slightly more than 300ml or water with 1 teaspoon of stock powder of Konnbu. Put aside when ready.

2. Wash rice, and drain off water. In a fry pan, fry the washed rice to rid of moisture. This helps the rice absorb the flavor readily. Pan fry for about a minute and transfer to rice cooker. Spread out the rice.

3. Pour in stock, rice wine, mirin and soy sauce, stir. Place in bamboo shoot, mushroom, carrot and asparagus, and just let the cooker do its job! Easy isn't it??

4. Slightly before serving, prepare the seaweed strips. For those who have no access to stripped seaweeds, use a sisscors to cut those standard seaweed pieces to strips. =)

Isn't this done so easily? That's why I label dishes like this under ' One Pot HAPPY '. =)

Recipe for Baked Scallop with Fragrant Crumb

While waiting for the rice to be cooked, I prepared some side dishes to go along. Scallops are so fleshy and fresh now! The market selling this was proposing customers to eat it raw! Oh but I decided to bake it the way I prefer.

I apply this to almost anything goes cos it's so easy, no mess and absolutely delicious! The crispy fragrant crumb outside seals the juicy scallop within, perfectly combined! This is definitely a favourite of our home. Try it!

Ingredients ( Prepares 2 large scallops with shell intact )

2 large scallops

Bread crumb : 3 heaping tablespoon. Not too flaky please, crush a little with spoon if you must.

Garlic : Grated, 1 teaspoon

Grated Parmesan Cheeze : 1 tablespoon

Olive oil : 2 tablespoon

Minced herb : Use herb that you prefer, I've run out of herbs so I used dried Parsley.

1. Preheat oven at 180deg.

2.Wash your scallops! The seller claimed that these can be consumed straight away, but I've found hmm... unfriendly particles within. =(

3. In a bowl, place in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, grated garlic, and cheeze, do a quick mix. Add in bread crumb, mix to let the bread crumb absorb the olive oil. Then, add in another tablespoon of olive oil across and perform thorough mixing. The idea is to wet the bread crumb with olive oil.

4. If the bread crumb isn't uniformly moistened, add another 1 teaspoon of olive oil to help.

5. Spread the moistened crumb across the scallops, covering them like a blanket. Sprinkle your favourite herbs on top. Bake at 180 deg for 15 mins, or watch your stuff to see the bread crumbs have turned into delicious looking gold.

To an average Singaporean, things in Japan are considered expensive. While green beans like these are dirt cheap in Singapore, it is unbelievably expensive here. With the price of getting barely a handful of it in Japan, one can get 9 times the volume in Singapore.

To prepare it simple, just fry some onion slices with sesame oil till fragrant. Add the green beans to fry, season with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, or 1 good pinch of salt. Complete with topping of sesame seeds.


Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

you are incredibly talented in cooking and creating new recipes!
I really adore your recipe today but unfortunately is not so easy to find bamboo here..maybe in some japanese food shop..
Thanks for your visit always so welcome. Yes Florence is really a lovely city so romantic and still enough full of green, but like othe rest of Italy is not an ideal place to live anymore..too expencive too many fees too many politic..but I still adore walking beside the Uffizi museum and I really fall in love with this city every day.
Have a good day honey!

stay-at-home mum said...

I love eating bamboo shoots, and always look forward to it in my kamemeshi (steel pot rice)! However, I hardly cook it (coz huby and the kids do not enjoy it) - only when I do a sukiyaki. They are fairly expensive here - about $8 for one of those small vacuum packed ones like that shown in your pix.

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

when you have some spare time would you visit my blog please :-)

bp said...

Maybe I haven't looked around, not sure if there's the vacuum sealed bamboo shoot here. I know there's the made in China canned ones, which don't come close to the "real" thing!

Your bowl of goodness, and scallop -- and love the way you plated everything -- must be delicious! =)

Stardust said...

Hi Silvia,
I think it is the desire to EAT that drives me cooking. I'm not a cooking talent at all. =P Ahh... I believe you if that's what you claimed about the place you live in. In fact, I guess no place on earth is plain heaven. Nevertheless, let's be grateful for whatever we may have. =)

Hi stay-at-home-mum,
I LOVE kamameshi too, but this kind that is prepared at home using rice cooker is called ' takikomi-gohan '. Do you actually own a ' kama ', you're amazing! I can understand that not people can accept Jap taste, some Jap dish kills my apetite too (~~) The bamboo shoot ain't cheap here either. =P

Hi bp,
Oh yes, I know those canned stuff, so nostalgic... But I thought they taste nice too. I love flavoured rice and have quite a few recipes that I'd like to share in time to come.